Despite Toronto experiencing a cooler than normal summer (so far), there are days when the last thing you want to do is sweat it out in the kitchen or even tend to the grill!
We can’t stop eating. The thought of subsisting purely on nuts and fruits is out of the question as well. I do however enjoy pasta salads but only if they they are bright and full of flavour.
This dish was inspired from a photograph in the latest issue of Gastronomos where the focus of the issue’s dish is “light cooking”. Among the array of of dishes was a photograph of this salad but alas, no recipe.
I was so smitten with the photo that I had to have this salad. I winged it, based on my cooking experience and taste and I think I came up with a delicious summer meal that I’m sure you’ll all rush out to make.
On the topic of shrimp, some leftover shrimp (if that’s possible) could be used from the previous night’s BBQ, you could grill some or use the frozen cocktail shrimp available at most grocers. Thaw in cold water, rinse and pat-dry.
This recipe is for two as it’s summer. You might be a couple just sitting on your balcony or rooftop of the apartment, a married pair with a rare evening where the kids are out or at the grandparents.
Regardless, tonight – make something simple, focus your attention on each other and enjoy the warm summer breeze and savour the summer – for she’s gone too quickly.
Shrimp Salad With Avocado and Pasta Shells
10-12 medium-sized cooked shrimp (thawed from frozen is fine)
10 medium to large pasta shells
2 medium-sized ripe avocados
1/4 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. of Dijon mustard
juice and zest of half a lemon
juice and zest of half a lime
1 large handful of rocket (dandlion greens), rinsed and patted-dry
1 tomato, halved and diced
pinch of chilli flakes
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
half a cup of fresh basil leaves, hand-torn
- Place a pot of water on the stove-top and bring to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and add your pasta shells and cook to “al dente”, as per package instructions.
- Place your frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold water. Once thawed, peel the shells (if any) but leave the tails on. Rinse, pat-dry and reserve.
- In a large bowl, add your minced garlic, lemon juice (reserve the zest) and mustard and whisk together. Now add a slow and steady stream of extra-virgin olive oil until it becomes emulsified. Add your sliced onions and toss. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.
- Cut your avocados in half, remove the pits and remove the meat of the avocado whole (with a large spoon). Cut into slices and fan them out on each serving plate. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime on the avocados (prevent them from turning) brown and reserve the lime zest.
- As soon as your pasta shells are cooked, remove from the water and drain. While they are still hot, add the pasta shells to the dressing along with the shrimp, basil leaves, rocket leaves, diced tomatoes, lime and lemon zest and chilli flakes. Gently toss with some salad spoons and divide and plate on top of your bed of avocado slices.
- Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.
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